Kim Cofino continues to add to the discussion in the blogosphere on a variety of topics. She recently posted about Making the Shift Happen and I added the following comment. Kim will be a guest on this week’s Shifting Our School Podcast: SOS. We will be discussing the EQ “How to connect?”. In a few weeks we will be looking at the big question of how to make the shift with Brent Loken of Hsinchu International School as the featured guest.
Terrific insights here, Kim. Your points add to the growing discussion we have going at the Shifting Our Schools: SOS podcast as we work to answer our guiding question: “How to shift?”. We look forward to hearing from you in this week’s show.
The discussion on the podcast has brought up some other points that can be added to your work here. The process of shifting with its focus on the curriculum development process, guiding professional development around the formation of learning communities and the need for leadership must be validated by the appropriation of time during the school day to do the work to change how we do business in our schools.
Shifting cannot be set aside as an after school meeting activity.
As you point out the leadership must come from the administrative team to build the vision and the framework to make the shift. The SOS team would add that a trained instructional/educational technologist and library media specialist must be hired in each of the school’s divisions to drive the efforts in the curriculum and PD processes. We must have our point people to follow through and make the vision a reality in our classrooms.
As for the curriculum review process, it should also have the administrators on board to the point of attending the meetings especially the end of unit reflection gatherings where everyone is held accountable when reviewing the common assessments. Your point of celebrating and publicizing successes comes into play very nicely during these meetings.
I would add that a big part of the paradigm shift is again making the time for ongoing discussions as school leaders “seek to understand” where individual staff members are when it comes to learning 2.0 instructional and assessment strategies. I have experienced that the process of understanding how to construct essential understandings/questions and learning what concept-based curriculum looks like takes time and understanding as we work with our adult learners. We don’t learn in the same way as our students.
As much as we think about how to shift, we also need to think about what the barriers are to moving our schools to become 21st century learning communities. Your 3 bullet points really hit home on this point and as other commenters are saying, need to be presented to our school administrators to start the discussion as we look to change the cultures of our schools and begin the process of shifting our schools.
After making the comment at Kim’s blog an additional thought came to mind. I would add another question to Kim’s 3 bullet points. My question is what are administrators doing to hire teachers with the skill set for constructivist, concept-focused instruction and assessments who are passionate about helping our students learn 21st century skills?